When making a fantasy RPG as vast and complex as Dragon Age Inquisition, the developers generally have more important things to worry about than how differences in console resolutions will be perceived among consumers and competitive fans. But that won’t stop Xbox One and PS4 owners from debating the importance of pixels, as the differences in console resolution have been released by BioWare – along with the PC specs expected to put both to shame (not that it’s a competition).
After delaying the release date until November 2014, the expectations for BioWare to deliver a hit with the company’s first next-gen title only raised higher; an increase in pressure sure to make any studio not looking to bounce back from the mixed reviews garnered by their previous release start sweating. But the studio is making their desire to please their most knowledgeable and dedicated fans just as much as casual players, if not more.
It’s safe to assume that many of those fans will be playing Inquisition on either the Xbox One or PS4 to make the most out of the improved processing and graphics. Bioware took to Twitter to announce that the resolutions for both systems had been maximized, leaving a disparity that seems to be a standard in these early days of both Microsoft and Sony’s cutting-edge consoles:
Confirmed: #DAI resolution is 1080p on PS4, and 900p on Xbox One. We maximized the current potential of each platform.— Dragon Age (@dragonage) October 10, 2014
The implication made by BioWare’s claim that Inquisition was “maximized” for each set of hardware is that the studio has made changes and tweaks where needed, instead of lowering the overall bar for all platforms in the name of parity (a decision that landed Ubisoft in some hot water when they did just that with Watch_Dogs). While some will see the difference in 900p and 1080p as monumental, it’s safe to assume that buying decision rely on more than just resolution.
After all, BioWare has enough of a task on its hands handling completely overhauled tactical combat mechanics, a new 4-player cooperative system – oh, and delivering the kind of story living up to BioWare’s higher standards and a refined organic relationship system between players and party members. Not to mention crafting. Lots of crafting.
Of course, the company’s roots in PC RPGs is also set to receive some much-needed care, with the studio emphasizing that with Inquisition, it’s first and foremost a PC game for PC players. That point is driven home in the newly released PC specs (recommended and minimum) as well as a new trailer explaining why the PC version of the game is ‘so awesome’:
- OS: Windows 7 or 8.1 64-bit
- CPU: AMD six core CPU @ 3.2 GHz, Intel quad core CPU @ 3.0 GHz
- System RAM: 8 GB
- Graphics Card: AMD Radeon HD 7870 or R9 270, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660
- Graphics Memory: 3 GB
- Hard Drive: 26 GB
- DirectX 11
- OS: Windows 7 or 8.1 64-bit
- CPU: AMD quad core CPU @ 2.5 GHz, Intel quad core CPU @ 2.0 GHz
- System RAM: 4 GB
- Graphics CARD: AMD Radeon HD 4870, NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GT
- Graphics Memory: 512 MB
- Hard Drive: 26 GB
- DirectX 10
The developers aren’t planning on leaving the PS3 or Xbox 360 players out of the fold either, and while the previous console versions may lack the visual fidelity or minute detail, art and animation director Neil Thompson explained to VG24/7 that Inquisition‘s art isn’t measured by pixels:
“We’ve probably pushed [PS3 & Xbox 360] farther than we ever have before. When you’re trying to take a gen 4 experience and put it on a gen 3 console without compromise then by necessity you’re pushing those consoles really hard.
“It’s tough. We want people to have the same satisfying experience no matter what platform they play it on. From a graphical perspective the gen 4 versions look more dense, but in terms of the aesthetic of the game they should be the same across platforms.
“We’re very keen that the art should always support the narrative rather than be in opposition to it. We try not to do anything that’s gratuitously there from an artistic perspective. It’s epic and grand but it has to have a point and the point is derived from the narrative.
“What we’re trying to achieve is we want people’s decisions to be altered by the decisions you make within the game. So the world can be a beautiful place but it’s the decisions you make as you play through that can change your environment – not in an aesthetic sense – from a moral sense, into a good or a bad place.”
Only time will tell how greatly the versions will differ, but with Thompson promising a different direction than the one seen in Dragon Age II – something he refers to as “the semi-Renaissance” of BioWare’s art design – hopes are high that the game will speak more to fantasy than the greyed out stone (or repeated environments) used for DAII. More color, more sand, and simply more environments are always welcome.
If you’re still in need of seeing more of Inquisition to tide you over in the remaining weeks, you can watch the fifty-minute gameplay video BioWare streamed earlier this week.
Dragon Age: Inquisition releases November 18, 2014 for PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, and Xbox One.
Follow Andrew on Twitter @andrew_dyce.